Joshua 1:5-8 ESV
“…I will not leave you or forsake you.” V. 5b (cf. Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6)
Moses had died. So, the Lord spoke to Joshua. He told him to take the people across the Jordan into the Promised Land that he was giving them for their possession. And, he told him that just as he was with Moses, so he would be with Joshua. He would never leave him or forsake him.
So, what is the Promised Land for believers in Jesus Christ? What are we to cross over and take possession of? What is our inheritance in the Lord?
Our inheritance is our salvation from sin, and it is eternal life with God. It is both present and it is future. If we have trusted Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, we have obtained our inheritance, and yet we have yet to take full possession of it.
For, scripture teaches that we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and that we will be saved (future) when Christ returns and he takes us to be with him forever, and then our salvation will be complete.
So, what does the Jordan River represent? It was what stood between the people and their Promised Land, i.e. their inheritance. It was an obstacle to them reaching their inheritance. And, what is the obstacle that stands between us, as humans, and us receiving salvation from sin? It is sin. And, who is our Joshua? He is Jesus Christ.
He is the one who parted the waters for us so that we could pass through to the other side. And, he did this via his death on a cross, at which time he became sin for us so that he could put sin to death along with him. And this was so that through faith in him we are able, by God’s grace, to die with Christ to sin that we might live with him to righteousness. For, we must die to sin and self if we want to live with Christ for eternity (1 Pet. 2:24).
But, we don’t do this in our own flesh. We can’t! This is the working of God’s Spirit in our hearts as we cooperate with that work of salvation that our Lord is working within us. He is the one changing us and making us into the likeness of Christ as we yield control of our lives over to him, and as we submit to his Lordship.
For, the children of Israel had to submit to Joshua’s leadership, and they had to do what he instructed them to do if they wanted to make it to the Promised Land. They had to step out in faith, and believe God, and follow the lead of Joshua. They didn’t part the waters, God did. They didn’t make the way for themselves to cross over the Jordan. God did. But, they had to step out in faith and follow Joshua across that river if they wanted to get to the other side.
And, it is the same with our salvation. Jesus provided the way for us to be saved. We cannot affect our own salvation. But, we have to take the way he provided, and that way is via death to sin and living to righteousness, daily by the Spirit taking up our cross and following (obeying) Jesus Christ. Just as the people had to follow Joshua, we have to obey our Lord and do what he says if we want to inherit eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25).
But, we can also be assured that, when we take that step of faith, and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, we have the Lord with us every step of the way, no matter what obstacles we may face along the way.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” V. 6
We are not Jesus Christ, but we are his representatives. The Holy Spirit dwells within us, meaning God lives within our hearts and lives. We are the body of Christ, and we are to carry on the ministry of Jesus that he began when he walked the face of this earth.
This means that we are to be ministering to people’s needs, bringing healing into their lives, feeding the hungry, and giving water to the thirsty. But, this is not just physical. This is spiritual, too.
We are to be sharing with them the true gospel of our salvation so that they can find spiritual healing for their sin-sick souls. We, too, are to be feeding them the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ and his Living Word. And, we are to be giving them the words of life, which can lead them to salvation and to eternal life with God, too.
But, in order to do this, we need to be strong in the Lord and in our faith, and be walking in fellowship with our Lord, according to his Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh. He must be Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we must be living in submission to him. We must, too, operate underneath the power of the Holy Spirit, and not in our flesh, for it is the Spirit of God who will convict hearts and turn people to faith in Jesus Christ.
And, we must be courageous, too, in sharing our faith with other people, not afraid of what they will think about us, say about us, or do to us. We must care more about them than we do ourselves, realizing that their salvation is to be put above our own personal comfort and our own natural inclination to want to be liked by other people. For, when we share the TRUE gospel, we are going to be opposed, hated, rejected and persecuted.
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.” V. 7
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” V. 8
It is not the law of Moses we must follow now. But, it is the Word of God as taught under the New Covenant Relationship God has with us, his followers. If Old Testament truths fit with the New Covenant, then they should be followed, as well.
But, a walk (in practice, not in perfection) of obedience to God and to his Word is critical to our ongoing relationships with him and to the hope of eternal life with God. So, we must be careful to follow what the Word teaches us, to not ignore it, to not twist it to our advantage, nor to pick it apart and only accept what fits with our chosen lifestyles.
For, it is important not merely that we know the Word of God, but that we DO the Word of God. For its very purpose is that it might be applied to our lives. For, God’s will and purposes for us is that we might live holy lives, pleasing to him, and that must forsake our former lifestyles of living for sin and self in order to now walk in holiness and purity before our Lord.
And, this takes courage to do this when we are faced with so many temptations to follow after the ways of this world. This takes courage to do this when we have so many voices speaking at us trying to convince us that the way of the cross is old fashioned, or that it is legalistic, or that it means we are trying to earn our own salvation.
We must go against the fear of what others think about us. We must go against the fear of the possibility of being rejected, hated or even persecuted for our faith in Christ. And, we must stand strong in our faith in a time when so many are following the broad road which leads to destruction. And, we must be a beacon to show people the way to salvation. Amen!
Fear Not, Little Flock
An Original Work / February 10, 2016
Based off Luke 12
Fear not, little flock,
Your Lord’s always near.
Jesus will come and
Wipe every tear.
Trust in His mercy,
Rest in His love.
He’ll give you comfort
From heaven above.
Our precious Redeemer,
Jesus, our friend,
He will be with us,
True to the end.
He will not leave you,
Faithful He’ll be.
Believe His promises,
Rest on His knee.
Our God, and provider,
He knows our need.
He’ll not forsake you.
Follow His lead.
He’ll love and comfort you
To the end.
Know, on His Word,
You can always depend.
Monday, March 4, 2019